Rail safety: Two killed in freak train accident

Khyber Mail crashes into Bahoo train after suicidal man crushed on track.


Rameez Khan August 30, 2011

LAHORE:


At least two people were killed and 17 injured when the Khyber Mail crashed into a stationary train near Badami Bagh on Tuesday, shortly after the latter had braked to try and stop from crushing a young man lying across the track.


The Khyber Mail foreman and a passenger on the other train, Bahoo train, died at the scene while another 16 passengers were taken to hospital. A Railways spokesman said that an inquiry into the incident would be completed in 30 days.

Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan Railways beat in-charge for Lahore to Shahdara, told The Express Tribune that staff on the Bahoo train spotted a young man lying on the track near Snata Park Mohala Sadiqpura, Badami Bagh, and shouted at him to move, but he refused.

The driver braked the train but the boy’s legs were crushed. Staff got off the train to check on the injured man and to fill out paperwork concerning the accident.

About 10 to 15 minutes later, Iqbal said, the Khyber Mail approached. The Bahoo train was parked on a curve so the driver of the Khyber Mail was unable to spot it from enough distance to break on time.

“We were about 200 metres away when we saw the train and braked,” said Jan Khan, driver of the Khyber Mail. It crashed into the rear coach of the Bahoo train at about 20 km per hour, he said.

“There was a huge impact and it destroyed a coach of the parked train and the engine of the other train,” said Abdul Qayyum, who witnessed the accident from his nearby shop.

He said many young men rushed to help the injured, but he also saw some of them stealing from the passengers in the confusion.

Khan, the driver of the Khyber Mail, said his co-driver Muhammad Javed, 22, was killed instantly in the crash. Also killed was an unidentified passenger on the Bahoo train. Sixteen other passengers on the Bahoo train were taken to Mayo Hospital and Nawaz Sharif Hospital for treatment. Emergency services and hospital officials were unable to state the identity, condition or whereabouts of the young man crushed under the Bahoo train in the initial incident.

Inquiry

Kamran Yousaf, the director of public relations for PR, said that it was a sad incident and blamed it on the driver. He said that the Khyber Mail was given a signal to stop but it did not reduce its speed. He said that an inquiry committee had been formed and would fix responsibility for the accident in around thirty days.

The driver denied he had made any error. He said that he had seen a yellow signal at the Ravi crossing but was never told about a parked train. He laid the blame on the station master, saying he had not acted fast enough.

Iqbal, the Railways beat in-charge, said the Khyber Mail had not been given the red signal at the Ravi crossing and the station master had not known about the parked train.



Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.

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